|Given for||Given to the best linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football|
|Presented by||Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando (1985–2007)|
Butkus Foundation (2008–present)
|Most recent||College: Devin White |
Pro: Khalil Mack
High School: Nakobe Dean
The Butkus Award, instituted in 1985 by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, is given annually to the top linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football. The award, named in honor of College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, Dick Butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports a number of health and wellness activities including the "I Play Clean" anti-steroid program. The award was first established by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, which relinquished control of the award in 2008 following a lawsuit by Butkus.
Traditionally, the award was given only to the top collegiate linebacker. The Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to include high school and professional winners as part of a makeover by the Butkus family to help end anabolic steroid abuse among young athletes. Two players have won both the high school and collegiate Butkus Awards: Notre Dame linebackers Manti Te'o (2008, 2012) and Jaylon Smith (2012, 2015). Three players have won both the collegiate and professional Butkus Awards: former linebacker Patrick Willis (2006, 2009), Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (2010, 2012), and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (2011, 2014, 2015, 2017)
|1987||Paul McGowan||Florida State|
|1989||Percy Snow||Michigan State|
|1992||Marvin Jones||Florida State|
|1997||Andy Katzenmoyer||Ohio State|
|1999||LaVar Arrington||Penn State|
|2002||E. J. Henderson||Maryland|
|2005||Paul Posluszny||Penn State|
|2006||Patrick Willis||Ole Miss|
|2007||James Laurinaitis||Ohio State|
|2008||Aaron Curry||Wake Forest|
|2010||Von Miller||Texas A&M|
|2011||Luke Kuechly||Boston College|
|2012||Manti Te'o||Notre Dame|
|2015||Jaylon Smith||Notre Dame|
|2008||DeMarcus Ware||Dallas Cowboys|
|2009||Patrick Willis||San Francisco 49ers|
|2010||Clay Matthews III||Green Bay Packers|
|2011||Terrell Suggs||Baltimore Ravens|
|DeMarcus Ware||Dallas Cowboys|
|2012||Von Miller||Denver Broncos|
|2013||NaVorro Bowman||San Francisco 49ers|
|2014||Luke Kuechly||Carolina Panthers|
|2015||Luke Kuechly||Carolina Panthers|
|2016–17||Khalil Mack||Oakland Raiders|
|2017–18||Luke Kuechly||Carolina Panthers|
|2018–19||Khalil Mack||Chicago Bears|
High school winners
- Schmadtke, Alan (April 29, 2008). "Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando relinquishes rights to the Dick Butkus Award". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Archer, Todd (January 9, 2009). "Dallas Cowboys' Ware wins Butkus Award". Dallasnews.com: the Dallas Morning News website. Belo Corporation. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
- Skrbina, Paul (December 8, 2015). "Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith named Butkus Award winner". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Potter, Charlie (December 5, 2016). "Alabama LB Reuben Foster named 2016 Butkus Award winner". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- OleMissSports.com: Willis Wins Butkus Award As Collegian And Pro Archived January 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "Former BC great Kuechly wins second Butkus Award". Fox Sports. May 12, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "Bears OLB Khalil Mack wins pro Butkus Award". Chicago Sun-Times. June 4, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.